Storyline: Season Suspension

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Paul shared details on that night in what was the catalyst for the domino effect that before the night ended would lead to the NBA season suspension. Like many of the fan base, Richardson and Miles were watching and noted seeing Paul approach Joe Ingles at center court to ask where Rudy (Gobert) was. Even after nearly four months, the events of March 11th remain confounding for Paul who explained his feelings at the moment. It was crazy, and I tell you a little bit about it, but to tell you the truth it’s crazy man I’m doing a documentary about it, like a movie, like a movie about a sports stop with Antoine Fuqua and Brian Grazer. We doing a whole thing about that like getting perspectives from athletes of what happened.Man, listen, I ain’t never seen nothing like it. Never seen nothing like it.

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But under this new format, by the time the 2020-21 season starts, the Cavs will have gone nine months between games. Who knows what they will look like? Who knows how much time will be in between team-organized mandatory workouts? The Cavs — and other non-playoff teams — don’t currently have those answers. According to sources, one member of the team’s front office has spent the last few days working on that project specifically, letting the league know what the team needs/wants during this unprecedented hiatus. Sources say the Cavs plan to push mandatory training camps during the summer because of the unique circumstances to their shortened season. But whether they actually win that battle remains to be seen.

Lindsey Harding, a former Duke basketball standout who is now on the coaching staff of the Sacramento Kings, said she is preparing for everything. Back in March, Harding, the Kings’ player development coach, was in the midst of helping her team fight for a playoff spot. “It’s funny we were sitting in the locker room for like 45 minutes; like they said, postponed, but we didn’t know if it was going to go on that day,” she said. “We had no idea until everyone was like, the season is postponed just go home. We weren’t sure, we were working out some of the guys cautiously, as much as possible, for almost a week until we realized it was postponed indefinitely. A lot of our players went home, a lot of our coaches that are close kind of went home and it’s kind of a wait and see right now.”

Harding said that while she misses the day-to-day grind of being a coach, she has loved this time, and it’s given her a chance to reflect on who she is off the court. “I think we always define ourselves with our career and what we’ve done and what we’ve accomplished and now it’s kind of stripped away now who are you?” she said. “I’ve had a chance to really look inside and get a lot of clarity. It’s been a great growth for me. As far as the coaching goes, it doesn’t go away. We’ve had a lot of meetings, looking towards the future.”

Quin Snyder talked about how things unfolded from a coaching perspective after the team came back from Oklahoma City on March 12, the day after Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus and the NBA suspended its season. Rather than go ahead with things like it was business as usual, Snyder felt the gravity of the situation and wanted to take a break from basketball and let the team process what was happening, not only in the NBA, but in the world.

In his latest hiatus, the 35-year-old, 14-year veteran Barea has taken the lessons he learned from the lockout to keep focused as he holds hope for a Mavericks playoff run, even if in a central, quarantined location, separate from his family. He has combined weight training and yoga into his daily regime. He rides a stationary bike for cardio work and uses hurdles in his backyard for plyometrics. He’s worked on strengthening his ankles to be in peak physical form if and when the Mavericks return.

“With the Miami Heat we have Zoom workouts 4-5 times a week and you have about eight or nine guys at least on there. We’re making do with the bikes, treadmills, some weights. Even if you just have a set of 40s or 50s, there is a plethora of workouts you can accomplish,” said Iguodala. “I’ve gotten really creative in the front yard doing a lot of boxing workouts. You get the right trainer over a Zoom call and trainers are very creative. Their whole passion is to make you suffer so, you can get a good workout.”

Today, owners are championing testing and research studies. Sacramento’s Vivek Ranadive has discussed the Israeli breathalyzer test for the virus with his peers, sources said. Boston co-owner Steve Pagliuca is monitoring a Harvard test study on possible saliva testing. And the owners understand something else too. Silver is the best messenger to reach players on the financial strain approaching the NBA. That’s why a week ago, Silver was on the phone with players describing scenarios where revenue could plummet, where fans could slowly, if it all, return to NBA arenas as ticket buyers.

Appearing on ESPN’s The Lowe Post podcast, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he’s hopeful the team’s practice facility will open next week in advance of the suspended NBA season resuming in the coming months. “Massachusetts has been one of the slowest in opening things up. Our next phase is, we’ll open up our facility. We’re hoping to do it next week,” he told ESPN’s Zach Lowe. “It’s 1-on-1… one coach, one player. Coaches with masks and gloves. Players in the gym, disinfect the gym. I don’t think anybody’s afraid of that”

The NBA allowed teams to reopen practice facilities on Friday, though only two did at that time. Others have been slowly opening in the days since. There were still plenty of restrictions involved. Love said he was asked several questions upon arrival and had his temperature taken, and only parts of the facility were actually open. Every player had his own individual basket to work out on and had just one assistant coach to help — who was made to wear gloves and a mask.

“Our facility has been really odd because we have to do one guy to a basket and we have four main baskets at our facility, and everybody is in masks and gloves,” Love told Yahoo Sports on Thursday. “It’s really odd to have a rebounder in a mask, in these latex gloves, throwing passes and throwing you a ball. You almost have to put that out of your mind and act like it’s not even there. The players are the only people not shooting with the gloves on.”

“I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like getting back and playing with no fans or fans kind of scattered out through the arena. It’s going to be really, really odd to see how sports slowly start to roll themselves out, but I think it’s needed,” Love told Yahoo Sports. “It’s just such a way to — even for us, too — get out of our own heads and just go and compete. Sport has a commonality to it that, it just plays itself out and has a unique brand of storytelling that’s unraveling right before your eyes. I’m fingers crossed for the season to resume.”

The 35-year-old basketball player, like everyone, has been self-isolating at home as the coronavirus pandemic continues. But once — or if — the NBA season restarts, Chris Paul tells PEOPLE he’ll be prepared. “You know, it’s funny, when I was home for that first week or two, and it was like, ‘Man, this is so nice,’ because I live in Oklahoma without my family, so it was like it’s so nice to be here, see my kids, see my wife and everything,” he explains. “And then after a couple of weeks, I woke up and I looked at my wife — and it was crazy — I told her, I said, ‘Babe, I miss it. Like I miss playing basketball like I need to play basketball.’

As the NBA moves closer to a decision on what do with its suspended season amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Orlando Magic continue to play the waiting game. The Magic did not reopen their facilities Wednesday for voluntary individual player workouts as they had hoped. The team initially had planned to reopen Tuesday, then delayed opening a day as it waited for COVID-19 test results on asymptomatic players and staff who would be present for workouts.

Texas’ professional sports teams want to resume playing games, Texas Sen. John Cornyn said Wednesday after participating in a video meeting with officials from many of the state’s major league franchises. But the likes of the Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas Mavericks, the Texas Rangers and others “don’t want to be sued into oblivion” or be “responsible for a public health outbreak” when they return to the field or court amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the senator said.

The senator also predicted that Americans are going to see “a lot more monitoring of people who come into public facilities for elevated temperatures, indicating that they have a fever,” along with “more widespread testing to give people the confidence they need.” “You can just imagine with the universities and the professional sporting events, that they need some confidence that what they’re doing won’t get them in trouble, either legally or from a public health standpoint,” Cornyn said. Cuban, while generally agreeing with the senator, disagreed on the point about temperature testing, explaining that “anyone can crush and eat a few Tylenol to beat any system.”

Larry Nance Jr. is one of the few NBA players who have been able to work out after teams were granted permission to reopen their training facilities, which have been closed nearly two months by a virus outbreak that has paused the season and placed its conclusion in peril. Nance returned to the Cavs’ complex on Friday, and for two hours, the 27-year-old felt whole again. ”This is the longest I haven’t played a game of basketball in my entire life,” he said Tuesday on a Zoom conference call.

Nance, who acknowledged getting a coronavirus test out of ”panic” in March, said that while the conditions are somewhat surreal for practicing, he felt secure because of masks – and other safety measures. ”For me that just provides a sense of security,” he said of the facial coverings. ”You get your own two basketballs – that’s it. You have your one coach wearing masks and gloves that are unique to you. Even in the weight room, you pick up a weight, and if I was using 45s (pounds), nobody else that day was allowed to use the 45s until they were cleaned and sterilized, so to me it was so well regimented that I feel pretty safe going.”

Sportscasters increasingly not being on site, at least for the time being, is the new normal though. The lack of fans in attendance will allow for the increased use of drones and different, potentially closer camera angles. It also will lead to new challenges. “Audio becomes a big issue,” ESPN’s executive vice president of production Stephanie Druley said. “Now, you can pick up everything that is being said. We have had discussions about really leaning into the audio as part of the broadcast.”

Florida’s Ron DeSantis became the second governor to announce that his state is open to professional sports teams that want to resume activity amid the coronavirus pandemic. “All professional sports are welcome here for practicing and for playing,” DeSantis said at a news conference Wednesday in Tallahassee. “What I would tell commissioners of leagues is, if you have a team in an area where they just won’t let them operate, we’ll find a place for you here in the state of Florida.”

NBA opinion-leaders Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal are on-record saying that COVID-19 is enough now to give up the season. NBA opinion-leader Mark Cuban – as cautious as he continues to be about needing a return from hiatus to “be perfect” – says Barkley and Shaq are off-base. “I love those guys but they’re wrong,” Cuban said. “Guys want to play, there’s still a season to be finished out, I still think we can play a few games and then go into the playoffs and crown a champion… let’s go, let’s play.”

Sports Illustrated and the New York Times report the MGM Grand in Las Vegas has offered its facilities to house players and host games in a “fully quarantined campus.” “It would be like a bubble, it would be very strict. It would be testing before you got there. There would be testing for the two weeks while you were there for the ‘incubation period.’ And then there would be nobody coming or going for the entire time. So it would be a sacrifice, guys wouldn’t be able to see their families, their kids, things like that. But it’s what would have to be done because health and safety is the number one priority, so that’s what they’re trying to figure out now and I think that’s the most difficult part,” Connaughton said.

How would a potential return look? One or two locations — such as Disney World in Orlando or Las Vegas — and this playing grounds environment that Silver described Tuesday: Players/personnel able to move around, but undergo testing upon re-entry. This would mean that people involved in the isolated city environment would be re-examined before any return to the remainder of the pack. It would not be a strict “medical bubble,” Silver said to the players and again on Tuesday.

Players want to resume the season 'if it is safe to do so'

NBA players want to resume the 2019-20 season with the regular season and a full playoff schedule, “if it is safe to do so,” the National Basketball Players Association told agents in a memo sent on Tuesday. The memo came as ESPN reported NBPA regional representatives reached out to players for an informal survey asking if they want to return this season. While informal, responses were overwhelmingly in favor of resuming the season, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the sensitive nature of the topic.

In the memo, “if it is safe to do” was underscored, emphasizing the challenge facing sports as they attempt to come back. The memo briefly recapped Friday’s NBPA players meeting that included a session with commissioner Adam Silver. The memo confirmed that “any such resumption would not include fans in arenas, and would likely take place at a single site, but again, it is far too early to speculate on whether any such plan will be implemented.” The union said it formed a joint committee of NBPA staffers, outside experts and players Chris Paul, Dwight Powell, Kyle Lowry, Jayson Tatum and Russell Westbrook.
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